Kenya has extended the deadline to close Dadaab refugee camp by six months sparing the over two hundred thousand refugees still living there.Addressing members of the press, Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph Nkaissery said the move followed a request by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Fillipo Grandi to extend the time for repatriation and closure of the camp.
Security situation in Somalia and ongoing elections are said to have made it difficult for Kenya and other partners to meet the deadline.
CS Nkaissery said the decision to repatriate refugees is anchored in an evolving understanding by virtually all regional and international bodies that Kenya faces a serious security threat. He however said the repatriation process will have a humane face.
Nkaiserry also denied reports by agencies including Amnesty International that refugees are being forced back to Somalia.
In the first month all non-Somali refugees will be relocated from Dadaab to other UNHCR camps.
In the third month of the set period completion of the relocation of Somali refugees to third countries will take place.
In the fourth and fifth month the team plans to complete the repatriation of Somali refugees from Dadaab before the government starts the process of environmental rehabilitation programme in the area during the sixth month
The CS said Kenya plans a special IGAD summit in Nairobi to discuss the crisis and other regional security issues.
Global humanitarian and human rights agencies have lashed out at Kenya for going against its international obligations in protecting the rights of refugees and displaced persons.
Kenya has however remained static over its decision to repatriate refugees citing insecurity issues .